1993 Directed by Rob Bowman. Starring Shane Mcdermott, Seth Green, Brettney Powell, Edie Mcclurg.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Sept. 24, 1993
Filters. I don't normally think about filters as much as I did while watching this movie. If someone had spent half as much time thinking about the characters in Airborne as thinking about what filters to apply to the camera, then there might have been a semi-decent teen action movie here. As is, the California surf and sunset shots are magnificent and the generally dreary CIncinnati has a crispness and hue that's rarely associated with that town. In a nutshell, the story concerns California dude Matthew (McDermott) who surfs and Rollerblades -- and little else. When his anthropologist parents go off to Australia for six months, they send Matthew to live with relatives in Cincinnati. Cincinnati proves little more receptive to Matthew than it recently did to Robert Mapplethorpe -- and Mapplethorpe was already dead. Basically, the dichotomy is pastel zen boy versus plaid-shirted roughnecks. There being no surf in Cincinnati, the proving ground there is hockey -- which they use as a way to beat up on Matthew. (It's almost as if the entire United States buckled and all the neanderthals slid midwestward into Cincinnati.) There are a couple other of little plot points: Matthew has an awkward cousin (Green) in CIncinnati who does Matthew no favors by breaking the ice for him; also a budding romance with -- surprise -- the sister of his nemesis. But plot is not what Airborne is trying to do. It's a thin excuse for action: hockey fights, surf fantasies, fist fights, skating matches, what have you. The climactic event is a death-defying skating contest down Devil's Backbone. It should come with a warning label to not try this at home. In between action sequences, pastel zen boy imparts bits of dubious wisdom. All in all, AIrborne is not bad for what it is, but what it is is very little.